January 30, 2023

MDIFW Avoided the Cash Rewards

In George Smith’s article in the Bangor Daily News, he writes of a question he was asked by a reader as to why, “Maine essentially close[d] the bear season to non-residents during deer season?”, and querying as to why the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) and/or the Legislature won’t open the November deer hunting season to harvesting bear by non-residents in the same fashion as Maine residents can do during the deer season.

The MDIFW offers an answer to that question but doesn’t really address the real issue with managing bears or explain their cash windfall by charging non-resident deer hunters an additional $74.00 for a special tag in order to harvest a bear during deer season. (Maine residents must pay an additional $27.00 for a bear permit to hunt bear outside of deer season.)

As Smith explains and has explained, MDIFW is in the process of establishing revised 15-year management plans for big game species that include bear, deer, moose and turkey. Part of the plan for bear involves what the Department can do to create a greater interest in bear hunting in order to better keep in check a still growing bear population.

The explanation as to why non-residents can’t inclusively hunt bear during deer season without a $74.00 tag, does not include why MDIFW or the Maine Legislature decided to create the exemption in the first place. If the MDIFW is certainly interested in keeping hunters happy, providing for the best management of bears, while at the same time looking for ways to increase the bear harvest, they sure have a strange way of going about it.

MDIFW says that after implementation of the bear hunt exemption, non-resident deer hunters continue to lay out $74.00 for a bear tag, even though the success rate is slim to none – barely over a dozen bears harvested. MDIFW says those bear permits range from 700 – 1,000 each season – or a cash windfall to MDIFW of between $51,800 and $74,000 dollars per year. In the grand scheme of government gouging for every tax dollar they can swindle out of the public, this is not a lot of money, but we do need to change the attitudes of tax payers and stop giving these bureaucrats more money so they can find more ways to limit hunter’s ways to harvest game.

The explanation given by MDIFW about the small harvest totals of bears during the deer season is understandable but it doesn’t address the issue of what to do about the Department’s ability to better control the bear population. In the explanation, MDIFW’s bear biologist writes, “…we will consider a variety of options for meeting our management needs that includes reviewing our permit system and making changes if appropriate.”

I understand that in this particular incident MDIFW was addressing the question asked and therefore there was no need to explain more about the proposed bear management plan.

As I said above, MDIFW has an odd way of addressing how to generate more bear kills to control the population. The first mistake, in my opinion, they made was to require bear hunters to pay for a special bear hunting permit ($27.00 for residents, $74.00 for non residents), in addition to the Big Game Hunting License ($26.00 for residents, $115.00 for non residents). Not everyone is made of money and in a time when all governments are out of control and clueless about stealing more and more of people’s money, they fail to realize that two things can happen with this scenario. First, fewer people can and will cough up the money to purchase a bear permit. Second, those still wishing to harvest a bear, will do it illegally. In addition, I tire from listening to lame excuses such as the fees required in Maine are a lot cheaper than in other states. Fine! But we are not talking about other states and never is there any discussion about demographics and other factors that go into the setting of fees for hunting, fishing and trapping. I grew up in Maine and I certainly understand, from my own past, that for some people buying a license is a chore. Is it not discriminatory to set fees that take away some people’s opportunities to hunt, fish or trap?

MDIFW grants Maine residents permission to harvest a bear, at no extra charge, during deer season with the purchase of a Big Game Hunting License ($27.00). How big of them, considering, as shown in the explanation in discussion, very few bears are taken during deer season because the bears are most often in hibernation. But they did put it to the non-residents asking for and additional $74.00 (in addition to the $115.00). While the bear harvest by non-residents before and after is seemingly negligible, a handful of harvested bears versus the cash windfall might be worth losing a few more bears.

If MDIFW wanted more bears harvested, why ask Maine hunters to pay for a permit? Makes no sense. Out one side of their mouths they cry about what they are going to do to curb the bear population. While doing that they stick their hand into hunter’s back pockets and pick them clean with no justification other than they wanted more money. It certainly does nothing to help control bear numbers.

Of the bear hunters that exist and do try to harvest bear, why not offer some means of allowing hunters or trappers to take more than one bear? MDIFW really went all out when they said a person could take one bear by trapping and one by hunting (sarcasm in case you weren’t keen). I bet that knocked down the bear population in a hurry!

We know that bears are big killers of deer fawns. MDIFW attempts to use smoke and mirrors to convince people that there are now tons of deer (due to one mild winter, wink, wink), and yet, the deer harvest essentially has remained at historic lows for at least the last 10 years. MDIFW has done nothing to remedy this problem with the exception of coughing up a couple dollars to do some sporadic predator control.

If bear populations are a problem, anyone with a brain should be able to logically conclude that with bears being fawn killers, two birds could be killed with one shot here. Increasing the bag limit on bear, in turn might help grow a deer herd instead of relying on Al Gore and his fake Global Warming.

But wait! MDIFW probably won’t do that because they are owned by the Maine Guides Association. Near as I can tell the guides tell MDIFW what they will and will not do when it comes to bear hunting. Granted, I’m not as stupid as some may think, bear hunting is a cash cow for the guides and they don’t want anybody spoiling their fun. But, at what expense?

It appears from reports I’ve heard and read about, MDIFW is looking at ways of creating more “interest” in bear hunting, hoping this will lower the bear population. Seriously? Again, strange ways of generating an interest in bear hunting. Maine should implement a 2-bear bag limit for one season and then reassess. While they are at it, they should seriously increase the number of moose permits and take a real proactive approach at dealing with an overgrown moose herd that is killing itself with disease and pests – Mother Nature in action.

If MDIFW is only looking for ways of fattening up their cash cow, why not be transparent and go to the hunters, trappers and fishermen, who have paid MDIFW’s way for decades and tell them what they need, what they are going to do with the money and how it will benefit the sportsman. MDIFW might be surprised at the response they get. But, instead, they limit the opportunities for bear hunters while at the same time attempting to gouge their wallets and then wonder what can they do to generate interest.

You can’t make this stuff up.


Preliminary Moose Hunt Numbers Are Up For 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine — With the preliminary numbers in, it looks as though moose hunters were more successful in 2015 than in 2014, and Maine’s moose population looks healthy.

“We had a number of moose that weighed in excess of 1,000 pounds,” said Kantar.  “The moose we examined looked very healthy, with good percentage of body fat stored for the winter.

Approximately 2,200 hunters harvested a moose in 2015, an 80% success rate for the 2,740 permits issued. This is up from 2014, when 2,022 of 3,095 hunters were successful for a 65% success rate. With approximately 12% fewer permits issued in 2015 than 2014, approximately 180 more moose hunters were successful in 2015.

“The numbers are still preliminary, but it looks as though better hunting weather, later seasons and fewer permits all contributed to a higher success rate for moose hunters,” said Lee Kantar, moose biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Maine’s moose hunt is designed to manage the moose population. By modifying the number and type of moose permits available to hunters, the department can manage the moose population in order to provide for hunting and viewing opportunities, maintain a healthy moose population, and limit the number of moose/vehicle accidents.

The moose hunt also provides thousands of pounds of wild game meat that is high in nutrition, sustainable, free range, and organic. On average, an 850-pound field dressed moose will provide over 450 pounds of meat.

“Hunting in Maine is a tradition,” said IFW wildlife division director Judy Camuso, “Not only does it help us manage healthy wildlife populations, but it also provides organic, free-range protein to thousands of families in Maine and beyond.”

The preliminary harvest results are calculated through biological data collected at moose registration stations during the September, October and November moose hunt seasons.

“Each year at moose registration stations, we examine over 90 percent of the moose that are harvested. By comparing the data to years past, we can get a fairly accurate estimate of how many hunters were successful,” said Kantar, who added that a final harvest number on the moose hunt would be completed by the end of January.

Moose hunting in Maine continues to be extremely popular, with over 52,374 hunters applying to the moose lottery for a chance to hunt moose.


Saving Deer: Will Words Do That?

I got a chuckle out of reading this article this morning in the Bangor Daily News. The article was about how the town of Falmouth, Maine was going to harvest a certain amount of timber from a town-owned parcel of land – the Woods Road Community Forest. The purpose? “to help out wildlife, Larrivee said, particularly deer.”

Don’t get me wrong. I think helping out wildlife is a good thing…to a point. I have also lived and worked in Maine long enough to have seen hungry deer in the winter time coming out of the forest and munching on the tops of trees, minutes after they have been dropped by loggers. The hungry animals will stay and feed while loggers run their chainsaws, skidders and other power equipment, mostly unfazed.

I chuckled over a couple of things, both not that obvious. Evidently there exists the need to change the narrative in order to justify cutting down trees. I mean, who could argue that destroying trees to save animals isn’t the right thing to do?

We live in a time when saving plants and animals takes precedent over saving humans. Some might disagree with that but it can be easily seen once one removes their heads from certain hiding locations. I suppose that should the town of Falmouth decide it would be best forestry practice to “selectively cut” trees from the forest, there would be opposition from Gaia worshipers. However, if the purpose or “goal” as is stated in the linked-to article is to “help out the wildlife” who dares to complain about that?

The other issue is the mild attempt to humanize the hungry deer issue, I would guess to help substantiate the narrative shift. It is written here that the deer are “very, very hungry” because they are eating evergreen browse. I would have to be hungry too before I’d eat balsam fir and hemlock browse. But, then again, I’m not a deer…am I? In normal winters, it’s what deer eat. Deer enter into a biological state in which what they put in their stomachs is really not for nutritional value but to stop the hunger pangs. This is not unlike humans eating many “foods” these days.

And I guess this is not a “normal” winter and some just feel the need to “help” starving deer…or do they? Is this really about helping hungry deer? I mean really? The article at the end says, “The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife requires a harvest there every 10 years.”

Oh, that’s why they are cutting some trees. Just checking.

I guess the narrative of “it’s for the children” doesn’t cut it so much anymore.

Save the animals!



Maine Should Increase Bag Limit on Bears From One Bear to Two

Perhaps it is time for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW) to put their money where their mouth is and increase the bear harvest bag limit to two bears per licensed hunter rather than leave it at one. MDIFW has often said that they are concerned that too few bears are being harvested each season and that the population is growing too large. Yet, they refuse to do anything proactive about the situation.

In the meantime, the anti human organization, Humane Society of the United States, is presenting a citizen’s initiative this fall to ban bear hunting. MDIFW is rightfully making the claim that with essentially removing all viable forms of being able to control the bear population would present a public safety issue.

With the bear population at present, higher than MDIFW thinks it ought to be, at least in some places, MDIFW should practice what they are preaching and take steps now to increase the bear harvest in order to better control the bear population. This also may send a better message to Maine voters that controlling bear populations is a serious issue.

Maine’s neighbors to the north in New Brunswick are considering increasing the bag limit to two animals, up from just one, due to an increase in the bear population believed to be the result of fewer bear hunters coming each year to bag a bear.


Minnesota’s Deer Harvest Down 12%

*Editor’s Note* – The following are comments/questions compiled by Jim Beers, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, in response to an article found in the Star Tribune. Mr. Beers took certain excerpts from the article (numbered below) and responds to them.

By James Beers

(I.)Excluding the late season, hunters killed about 144,000 deer during the main season, down 6 percent from 153,000 in 2012. Overall, Minnesota’s firearms, muzzleloader and archery hunters have registered 164,500 deer as of last Wednesday. Before the season, the DNR had expected hunter success would be similar to 2012, when they killed about 185,000 deer.

Question – How many deer did Minnesota hunters kill in 2012? Was it 153,000 or 185,000? If it is 185,000 and if the most recent count of deer taken is 164,500, the kill is down 12% and not 6%. Since the “general public” doesn’t catch this stuff, the radicals are happy hunting is “on the way out” and the hunters shrug that maybe it really was only bad weather responsible for the decrease. Like moose hunters, deer hunters are headed to the museum thinking it is a field trip and not their final resting place.

(II.)Steve Merchant, the DNR’s wildlife population and regulations manager, said a lower deer population is likely the main reason hunters haven’t fared so well, though the weather was a factor, too.

The season opener was windy, while it was rainy and windy the next weekend. Bad weather can limit deer movement, as well as discourage hunters from spending as much time in their stands. And the deer population was already down because of the harsh winter of 2012-13, which led the agency to reduce the number of does hunters could kill in northern Minnesota.

Question – The DNR “expert” tells us only “a lower deer population is likely the main reason hunters haven’t fared so well”. Not a peep about predation. How does he “know” it wasn’t increasing predation since the DNR “had expected hunter success would be similar to 2012, when they killed about 185,000 deer”? If it was only the tired and worn excuses (minus global warming and ticks) spewed out by the DNR as moose disappeared, ask yourself why the DNR expected “hunter success similar to 2012” even after reducing “the number of does hunters could kill in northern Minnesota.”? This smoke and mirrors gives White House “transparency” a run for its money.

(III,)Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, concurred that the lower deer population is the main factor in the lower harvest. He said success also had a lot to do with the particular area of the state. There have been fewer signs of deer in areas where harvest limits had been set high to bring local populations down, he said. And he said he believes the wolf population is also a factor in northeastern Minnesota.

NOTE: This is an example of a hunter organization (there are many, many more such examples every year) running interference for DNR buddies. Notice that the DNR never mentions wolf predation but this “executive director” does so hunters relax, they have been heard. The DNR stays solid with the radicals and the “director” is buddies with both his deer hunters and his DNR pals. But what does it mean to say he believes “the wolf population is also a factor in northeastern Minnesota.”? What must be done? Who will do it? What does this mean for deer?

(IV.)Johnson said he’s hearing from hunters that they want the state to produce more deer. He said the DNR is likely to respond to that by reducing the antlerless harvest.

NOTE: Wow, his hunters want “more deer” and “the DNR is likely to respond to that by reducing the antlerless harvest”. Why didn’t they try that with moose? I think I will write a thank you letter to Governor Dayton for such responsive government. Future deer success can be expected to mirror recent moose success if wolves are not figured into the equation and dealt with forthrightly – if we are to really have “more deer”.

(V.)This is Minnesota’s second wolf season since the animals came off the endangered list. The DNR lowered the overall target to 220 wolves this time for the two-part season. Hunters killed 88 in the early season. Last year’s overall target was 400, and the final count of wolves killed was 413.

NOTE: Minnesota’s most recent wolf count is 2, 211 (I just love those odd numbers as if the all-but-impossible-to-count wolves were sandhill cranes roosting as a flock on a Platte River sandbar when an aerial photograph is taken and some apprentice biologist sat down with a pin and counted every last one of them in the photo right down to the 211th one!)

For a long list of political reasons, MN, WI, MI, MT, ID, OR, WA et al undercount wolves. This has been true ever since they got into the sack with federal bureaucrats as allies in the wolf wars.

Truth be told, Minnesota has at least 3,000 or more wolves. Last year, Minnesota killed 413 or 13% of their wolves. This year they will kill only 220 or 7 % of their wolves. You can kill 20- 25% of your furbearers, small game or big game every year (as many states do) and you merely stimulate the population by guaranteeing more survive the winter and more reproduction takes place because of less competition and more available food. If you wanted to have “more” deer or moose and you admitted the obvious impact of wolves on deer and moose; you would kill 50-75% of your wolves for 4-6 years and then maintain a harvest of 35-45% of your wolves annually ever after – or you would exterminate the wolves as was done throughout history in Europe and North America.

That is the real reason deer hunting success is down but nobody is going to look into it, much less try to do anything about it. Why don’t we try a government hunter-recruitment program in addition to “reducing the antlerless harvest”? Maybe the reason there isn’t any moose hunting anymore is that the government didn’t recruit moose hunters. I think I’ll put that suggestion in my thank-you letter to the Governor. It is as sensible as the rest of this stuff.

Jim Beers
11 December 2013

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net


Milt’s Corner: Last of the Fall Harvest


Milt Inman Photo


2012 Maine Deer Harvest Statistics

You will notice on the below chart the question being asked if big bucks in Maine are beginning to make a comeback. While the data presented indicate an increase in the number of 200-pound and greater bucks taken as a percentage of the total harvest, one should probably not jump to too many conclusions. Bucks’ weight is determined by many things, as has been historically, in which we will see small fluctuations up and down. There’s always the possibility as well that a larger size buck, if it relates to a slightly older or more mature deer, may be an indication of an aging deer population which may not be such a good thing.

However, a slight uptick in deer harvest and percentage of large bucks taken, generally speaking and all factors relative, can be taken as probably positive signs.

Chart and data compiled by a contributor and researcher for TomRemington.com


Maine Moose Hunt Numbers Coming In

According to John Holyoke, “Out There” at the Bangor Daily News, 2,895 of 3,725 moose permit-holders were successful in bagging a moose. That’s about a 78% success rate or a 12% increase from last year.